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FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 5/17/19

With the end of the work week comes a full 15-game slate on Friday, and as you might expect, there's no shortage of hitting with everyone in action. The pitching selection doesn't go quite as deep, though a trio of aces offer massive potential tonight.

Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered! And don't forget to take a listen to The Solo Shot podcast with Jim Sannes, who breaks down the MLB daily fantasy slate each day.

On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel main slate.

Pitchers to Target

High-Priced Pitchers

Jacob deGrom ($12,000 on FanDuel): Jacob deGrom is crazy expensive, but that's what happens when you pair a great pitcher with arguably the best matchup in baseball. Against righties, the Marlins' active roster is dead last in both wOBA (.266) and ISO (.086) by a wide margin, and to put things in perspective, no other active roster has a wOBA below .290 or ISO below .135 in that split. Toss in a 25.3% strikeout rate with a pitcher-friendly Marlins Park, and the stage is set for a dominant performance from deGrom, who's already notched FanDuel scores of 73 and 52 points against this team in 2019. As for the elite hurler himself, he enters the contest with an excellent 3.11 SIERA, 33.0% strikeout rate, and 7.2% walk rate.

Max Scherzer ($10,800) and Gerrit Cole ($10,500): Although deGrom is pretty much a must in cash games, the prohibitive price tag does limit your hitting options in tournaments, so you can considering pivoting to Max Scherzer or Gerrit Cole, who both bring tremendous upside regardless of opponent. Surprisingly, Scherzer hasn't really had a true ceiling game since mowing down the Mets on opening day, but his numbers remain as impressive as ever, boasting a 2.83 SIERA, 32.2% strikeout rate, and 4.1% walk rate. Of course, a home start against the Cubs isn't anything close to facing the Marlins, but Chicago's active roster does strike out a fair bit (23.4%), and a lowly 3.62 implied total sits firmly in Scherzer's favor. Meanwhile, Cole has the unenviable task of facing the Red Sox at Fenway, and while that's hardly ideal, the tough matchup could allow us to roster him at lower ownership. Under those circumstances, we'll happily take our chances with a guy sporting a monstrous 2.53 SIERA, 38.9% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate.

Value Pitcher

Joey Lucchesi ($6,200): Fading the aforementioned trio will be difficult, as the talent really drops off after them, though they won't allow you pay up for the more expensive stacks. If that's the route you're aiming for, then you might consider straight up punting the position with Joey Lucchesi, who's practically half the cost of deGrom. Lucchesi's 4.11 SIERA, 22.2% strikeout rate, and 7.2% walk rate are about as average as they get, but he did post a 26.5% strikeout rate over 26 starts in 2018, and his current 11.0% swinging-strike rate is actually a hair better than last year's. His batted-ball numbers have also been pretty good so far, upping the ground-ball rate to 49.6% while only allowing a 29.1% hard-hit rate. But the real selling point is a plus matchup at home against the Pirates (3.12 implied total), who have really scuffled against left-handed pitching. Pittsburgh's active roster owns the third-worst wOBA (.283) and second-worst ISO (.095) versus southpaws, along with a 25.7% strikeout rate, and they weren't very good against them in 2018, either.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Mike Trout ($4,700) and Shohei Ohtani ($3,600): We never need much of an excuse to roster Mike Trout, but when a pitcher like Brad Keller comes along, we should definitely take advantage. Keller got some love as a deep-league sleeper in season-long drafts, but he's instead taken a step back in 2019, posting an ugly 5.53 SIERA, 16.9% strikeout rate, and 13.9% walk rate. Even his 50.3% ground-ball rate is drop-off from last season, and those grounders can only do so much to limit the damage when you're allowing a 40.0% hard-hit rate. The end result is a stack-friendly 5.48 implied total for the Angels, and Trout's Statcast page is a fiery red as always. If you can't fit his salary in with tonight's pricey arms, Shohei Ohtani makes for a solid consolation prize. He produced a massive .436 xwOBA and 47.2% hard-hit rate against righties in 2018.

Matt Carpenter ($3,200): The Rangers are doing the whole "opener" routine on Friday, running out Jose Leclerc for one or two innings, followed by Adrian Sampson. While these situations can often be undesirable to attack in DFS, this duo is an entirely different story. Following a strong 2018 campaign, Leclerc began the season as the Rangers' closer, but he's since been demoted, and it's easy to see why when you see that ghastly 6.32 ERA and 1.79 WHIP. He's still getting punchouts (29.0%), but it's come with a 17.1% walk rate and 52.6% hard-hit rate -- not exactly closer material. But even if Leclerc somehow returns to his 2018 form for this outing, Sampson brings about an even more inviting matchup, owning an ugly 5.14 SIERA with a mere 14.4% strikeout rate. Allowing a 43.7% hard-hit rate and 40.4% fly-ball rate over 63.2 career innings, the ball also tends to find itself in the seats more often than not in Sampson appearances. Between these two less-than-stellar resumes, the St. Louis Cardinals earn an enormous slate-high 6.19 implied total, so you'll want plenty of exposure here. The full stack is naturally in effect, but Matt Carpenter comes in as practically a value play at this price. Carpenter has been a little hit-or-miss this year, but a 41.5% hard-hit rate and 50.9% fly-ball rate is encouraging, and he's posted an ISO above .230 in each of the past four seasons when he has the platoon advantage.

Francisco Lindor ($4,000): Dylan Bundy's home run issues are well documented after allowing a league-high 41 bombs in 2018, and he's well on his way towards repeating that feat in 2019, having already given up 11, tied for the sixth most so far. Although he can get whiffs in same-sided matchups, he really struggles against lefty sticks, owning a career 5.30 xFIP and 17.6% strikeout rate. It says something when an offense like Cleveland gets a 5.00 implied total, so leadoff man Francisco Lindor could be primed for a big night. With a 46.7% hard-hit rate, it hasn't taken long for Lindor to find his groove, and he's put up a .236 ISO against righties since the start of 2017.

Value Hitters

Willie Calhoun ($2,100): Top prospects are getting called up everywhere this week, and Willie Calhoun is one who's wasted no time trying to prove he belongs, homering in back-to-back games. He hit second in both of those starts, so hopefully he slots in there again in a solid matchup against Miles Mikolas. While Mikolas has performed better since the calendar flipped to May, he still holds a modest 4.48 SIERA and 16.1% strikeout rate, and with temperatures in the 80s tonight, the ball could be flying in Globe Life Park. Prior to getting called up, Calhoun was crushing it in Triple-A with a .413 wOBA and .252 ISO. And speaking of recently called up prospects, the Braves' Austin Riley ($2,100) offers us another dirt-cheap punt against Jhoulys Chacin.

Max Muncy ($2,800): The Dodgers (5.24 implied total) get a nice park factor boost at Great American Ball Park tonight -- another game with a forecast above 80 degrees -- and with most of their bats priced down, they could serve as a nice value stack to pair with one of tonight's high-priced aces. Anthony DeSclafani has actually performed fairly well this season with a 3.95 SIERA almost identical to 2018's mark, in addition to an improved 26.4% strikeout rate. While that could prove troublesome, DeSclafani is also allowing a 41.1% hard-hit rate and 45.0% fly-ball rate and has routinely struggled against lefty bats, showing a 4.64 xFIP since the start of 2018. Along with leadoff man Joc Pederson ($3,100), Max Muncy in a lefty stick who comes in on the cheap, and while he isn't mashing at his torrid 2018 pace, he's still putting up a 48.4% hard-hit rate and 41.1% fly-ball rate.

Chad Pinder ($2,300) and Mark Canha ($2,300): You know the drill -- Oakland is up against a left-hander, so that means an opportunity to roster a cheap Chad Pinder and Mark Canha. Despite owning a solid ERA, Daniel Norris has only managed a 4.74 SIERA and 17.8% strikeout rate, and he's posted an ERA well over 5.00 in each of the past two seasons. Dating back to last season, both Pinder and Canha have produced xwOBAs above .345 with the platoon advantage.

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